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Contactless Fare Payment

Fast Facts

  • Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST) has introduced contactless fare payment technology on its buses.
  • Visa and Mastercard contactless-enabled bank cards and mobile wallets (Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and Fitbit Pay) are accepted. Cash and MST GoPasses and GoCards are still accepted as well.
  • To tap to pay, use the same method of contactless payment on each trip—and tap the payment reader as you board and exit the bus.
  • If traveling in a group, each rider must pay their fare separately. Don’t use the same contactless payment for multiple riders.
  • Contactless payments are safe and secure.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Payment Methods

What type of payment methods are accepted on MST’s contactless payment system?

MST currently accepts Visa and Mastercard contactless-enabled bank cards and mobile wallets. At this time, accepted mobile wallets include: Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and Fitbit Pay.


How do I know if I have a contactless-enabled bank card?

Cards that are contactless-enabled have the following symbol (on the front or the back) of them:

Many banks and financial institutions have switched to contactless cards to make payments safer, faster, and more secure for their customers. Check with your card issuer if you are unsure if your card is contactless-enabled.

If you do not have a contactless card, you can also link an existing bank card to your payment-enabled device—or you can order a contactless-enabled Cash Card.


Can I still ride MST if I do not have a contactless-enabled card or a payment-enabled device?

Yes. You can still pay for your fare using cash, monthly/weekly/daily GoPasses, or a GoCard. You would need to use the farebox to pay your fare.


Can I still use cash?

Yes. You can still use cash when riding the bus. Just pay your fare using the farebox when you board the bus.


Tapping to Pay

How do I use my contactless-enabled bank card or payment-enabled device on MST?

Always tap in at the start of your journey and tap out at the end on a payment reader to pay the right fare.

Where you tap in and out tells us where you’ve traveled from and to, so we can charge you the right fare for your completed journey.

Look for the contactless symbol on the MST readers as you board the bus:

Simply tap your contactless-enabled bank card or payment-enabled device below the screen on the contactless symbol and wait for the green “GO!” screen.

When exiting, don’t forget to tap out at the front of the bus.

If you don’t tap in and out, we can’t tell where you’ve traveled from or to, so your journey will be incomplete. When we can’t determine the length of your journey, we’ll charge you $3.50.


What are payment readers?

The contactless payment readers are the face of MST’s new contactless fare payment system. The readers serve as point-of-sale terminals, allowing you to pay your fare and enter the system instantly. They are mounted at the front entrance of the bus and look like this:

Note: If you’re tapping to pay for your fare on a reader, you must also tap out at the front of the bus before you exit to ensure that you are charged the correct fare.


Why doesn’t my contactless-enabled bank card work?

If your contactless-enabled bank card is not working, it may be due to one of the following reasons:

  • You have a new card. If you have a new contactless-enabled card, you might need to activate it first. If after activating your new contactless-enabled card it is still not working, please contact your card issuer at the phone number listed on the back of your card.
  • Your card issuer has declined payment. This may be due to your bank account not having enough funds for the journey. Please check with your card issuer.
  • Your card may be damaged or expired. If this happens, you’ll need to get your card reissued by contacting your card issuer.
  • Your card type is not accepted, e.g. American Express, Discover, and other card brands. Visa and Mastercard are accepted at this time.


Fares: How Calculated and Charged

What will I be charged?

Contactless fares will be based on distance traveled (as the crow flies). For example, a trip of 4.0 miles will cost $2.50 as a Regular Fare and $1.25 for a *Discount Fare when tapping to pay. *Discounted fares are now available for older adults (ages 65+); see our Benefits page to learn how to enable these fares. We are working on enabling discounted contactless fares for other categories of riders as well.

Fares when paying with a contactless payment method

Contactless Fare
Contactless Fare
Up to 2.7 miles$1.50$0.75
Between 2.7 and 14 miles$2.50$1.25
14 – 50 miles$3.50$1.75
50 – 77 miles$7.00$3.50
77 miles or more$10.00$5.00


What is fare capping?

Fare capping guarantees that you won’t be charged more than $10.00 per day (or $5.00 per day for older adults ages 65+ who register for a discounted fare* via our Benefits page) no matter how many times you ride in a day—as long as you pay with the same contactless debit/credit card or mobile wallet throughout the day. (*Note: Discounted fares are currently only available for registered contactless bank cards.)

To take advantage of fare capping, you must always use the same payment method to tap on and off for your trip. For example: Don’t use your iPhone to tap on, and then tap off with your Apple Watch. Even though the same bank card may be linked via both devices, you will be charged as if you are beginning a new trip and you will lose the benefit of fare capping.

If you would like more information on fare capping, please contact MST Customer Service at 888-678-2871, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Offices are closed on weekends and observed holidays.


Is there a weekly or monthly payment option?

Yes, please see the table below for daily, weekly, and monthly fare-capping amounts when paying with a contactless payment method.

Fare-Capping PeriodMaximum Regular Contactless FareMaximum Discount Contactless Fare
Daily cap$10$5
7-Day cap$50$25
31-Day cap$95$47

The 7-day and 31-day caps operate on a rolling basis. This means that a cap will apply for all trips taken within a 7-day and 31-day period from the first time you tap to pay, and on a rolling basis, based on usage thereafter.


How do charges appear on my card statement?

Fare is calculated automatically based on the distance traveled and charged to your card’s account like a standard credit or debit card transaction with the description “MST Tap To Ride.” To view your recent MST rides and see what fare you were charged, visit our Customer Transactions Inquiry Page (or check your bank card statement).


Is paying via a contactless-enabled bank card or payment-enabled device secure?

Yes. Tap-to-pay transactions are processed through the same secure networks used for all other Visa and Mastercard transactions. Contactless cards are built on secure EMV® Chip technology, which has proven effective at reducing counterfeit fraud. Just like inserting your card, each EMV® Contactless transaction delivers a dynamic, one-time code to the payment reader that protects payment information and authorizes the transaction with a single tap.


Will my information be kept private?

Personal data is never stored, sold, or given away by MST or any third-party agent. MST’s customer service representatives do not have access to full credit card account numbers. Customer service representatives will answer customer support queries in accordance with PCI (Payment Card Industry) practices.


Does my card issuer see my travel history?

No. Just like your card issuer does not see what you order from a coffee shop, the issuer will only see the amount of the transaction.


Will I be charged a service fee for using my contactless payment method on MST?

No, there are no additional fees to use contactless-enabled payment methods.


Can I pay for more than one person using one contactless payment method?

No. At this time, each rider must pay with their own contactless-enabled bank card or payment-enabled device.


Do I always have to use the same payment method during a trip?

Yes. You cannot switch payment methods during a single trip. If you switch between payment methods during an individual trip, it will be treated as a new trip, and you will be charged double.

For example, if you tap a contactless card to ride, you must tap that same contactless card when you exit the bus.

Important: You must use the same payment method throughout your trips to qualify for benefits like fare capping.


Will GoPasses and GoCards be phased out?

No, MST GoPasses and GoCards will continue to be available as another form of payment for bus fares.


Will it cost more to use contactless payments?

Using a contactless payment method can potentially lower your transportation cost when using the bus. Fares paid by contactless payment are calculated based on distance traveled instead of the fare displayed for the route and is capped at $10 per day. There is a weekly cap of $50 and a monthly cap of $95. The system automatically tracks the amount paid and the fare will be capped accordingly.


Are discounted fares available with contactless payment?

Discounted contactless fares are now available for older adults (ages 65+) via a simple, digitized verification program that enables riders to apply for and receive fare discounts. See our Benefits page to learn how to enable these fares.

We are working on enabling discounted contactless fares for other categories of riders as well. Riders who are eligible for a discount fare can still pay the existing discount fare with cash, a GoCard, or a GoPass when boarding a bus; you’ll pay at the farebox instead of using the contactless payment reader.


Can I use my transit benefit card with contactless payment?

If your transit benefit provider has issued you a contactless credit, debit, or reloadable prepaid card, you should be able to use that card at an MST payment reader. Please contact your transit benefit provider for more information about contactless card capabilities, as well as to determine if their products can be supported in payment-enabled devices.


Troubleshooting Issues

What can I do if my payment was not accepted at the payment reader?

If you tap your contactless card or payment-enabled device and the payment reader indicates that the payment was not accepted, you will need to use another payment method to pay for your ride. Your payment may not be accepted for a few reasons:

  • It is possible that your payment method has been blocked if we have not received payment for a prior fare. Until payment is received for that fare, that payment method will remain blocked, even if you use other payment methods in the meantime
  • Your payment method has been blocked by your bank
  • Your card or smart device is damaged
  • Your card is not contactless-enabled
  • You may not have enough funds

To resolve an issue with your card, please contact your bank. In the meantime, you can use another Visa or Mastercard, including a card in your mobile wallet. If you are having trouble with your payment-enabled device, you may need to remove the card from your device and add it back in.


How can I get my blocked payment method accepted again?

Once you have resolved the issue with your payment method, please contact MST Customer Service by calling 888-678-2871, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Once the issue is resolved, it can take up to 15 minutes before you can continue to use the same payment method at MST payment readers.


What is “card clash”?

Card clash happens when more than one payment method touches the payment reader at the same time. The payment reader may deduct the fare from the wrong bank card/device as it reads the first payment method it comes in contact with—or it will not read either card. It is recommended you present one payment method when paying your fare.

Note: If you are paying for someone who is traveling with you, you will need to use a different card or device for each person. Do not tap in more than once with the same card or device, to avoid being charged an incomplete journey fare each time you tap in.


How do I apply for a refund?

If you suspect you have been charged more than once or have not been charged the correct fare, please contact MST Customer Service at 888-678-2871, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


How do I dispute a charge?

If you did not authorize a charge, or if you believe that you have been charged incorrectly, you can dispute a charge by speaking with an MST Customer Service representative by calling 888-678-2871, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


What if my payment method is lost or stolen?

  • If your card is lost or stolen, contact your bank first to ensure that your card is canceled and to prevent unauthorized transactions.
  • If your card is subsequently found, and if your bank did not cancel it, you may continue using your card.
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